Rocksmith: how to play without the Real Tone Cable

In this post I’m gonna show you how to play Rocksmith using a normal cable. If you’ve never heard about Rocksmith, well, we could say that it’s like Guitar Hero played with a REAL guitar. And when I say REAL, I’m not meaning a controller made like a real guitar, like the ones you can use in Rock Band 3: i mean a real guitar, like the one you could already have at home, or even a bass. I’m not gonna discuss the possibility to see this game as a tool for learning to play an instrument, but personally, as a guitar player, i’m enthusiast of being able to play a game that gives you an authentic guitar experience and, at the same time, lets you practice guitar and learn new songs. Plus, with the included gears, you can play like a rock star!

If you want to learn how to play Rocksmith 2014 without the Real Tone Cable, read this post instead!


The Rocksmith Real Tone Cable

How does this game work? Everything is possible thanks to the so called Ubisoft Rocksmith Real Tone Cable: a cable that connects your electric guitar jack output to a usb port on your pc (or XBox or PS3). You can buy the bundle containing the game and the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable (or even the Rocksmith Guitar Bundle), or buy them separately, so I was thinking: would I be able to play Rocksmith trough my pc’s sound card using a normal 3.5 to 2.5 adaptor, or through my M-Audio Fast Track USB 2? If so, I could avoid to buy the Rocksmith guitar cable.

If you ask to Ubisoft, they will tell you that the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable is a must for playing the game. Of course the requirement of this cable is a way to (try to) stop piracy. Like in Guitar Hero, you could copy the game, but you can’t copy the controller. But for Rocksmith you can use your own guitar, and the Real Tone Cable is, well, just a usb guitar cable. Obviously, if you try to play the game using a normal cable, it will ask you to connect the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable to be able to play.

Looking on the internet about this topic, I found lots of people with my same question, and somebody with a solution: a patch that allow you to run Rocksmith using any audio input in your pc instead of the Rocksmith pc cable. This includes the mic input and external audio cards. So I spent some time experimenting and, finally, I’ve been able to play the game with a very simple setup.


How to use a normal guitar cable to play

First thing i did was downloading this patch and extracting it to the Rocksmith folder (C:\Programs and Files\Ubisoft\Rocksmith). You will need to run the extracted file as an Administrator everytime you want to play (Right click on it) to avoid a blank screen issue. Of course you can tell Windows to always run the file as and Administrator (in the file properties).

Next, you should go to the Control Panel and disable all the audio inputs, except the one that you want to use as the guitar input, otherwise Rocksmith will tell you that you have too many instruments connected.

First I tried to set up my M-Audio Fast Track, wich is a good USB sound card, but I got no luck: the problem is that it has two mono input channels: the first is used for recording a microphone, and the second for recording a guitar. Rocksmith treats the first channel (the mic’s one) as the game audio input, so basically no audio arrives to the game. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a way to select the second channel as the unique audio input in Windows, and of course I couldn’t plug the guitar in the Fast Track microphone input.

So i plugged the guitar directly into the mic input in the pc sound card, using a cheap adapter. Some people seemed to have success using the line input, so you may have to try it too. In both case, remember to disable all the other inputs in the Audio Properties in the Control Panel, to avoid the “too many instruments connected” issue.

In the Recording Properties, you should then select the microphone and go to its properties. In the ‘Enhancements’ tab, somebody had to uncheck “disable all sound effects” and check “DC Offset Cancellation” and “Noise suppression”. I personally found better to check “disable all sound effects” to avoid audio latency.

In any case, in the Advanced tab set the recording quality to “2 Channel, 16bit, 48000hz (DVD Quality)”.

The game should run now, but you could encountered some other problems. My first problem was that I wasn’t able to complete the game “sound check”. The “Noise meter” got the guitar input the first time, but after that, nothing more. The solution was to edit the Rocksmith.ini file (in the Rocksmith folder) with Notepad and put these values:


(VisualQuality is set to 2 just because my pc is not so powerful, so I lowered the graphic quality to the minimum in the game. You can leave the value you already have).

After that, the game ran, and I was able to complete the “soundcheck” (I had a problem tuning the guitar, but it was probably due to a bad cable. I changed and the problem was solved).


How to achieve low latency

The next problem I encountered was the high latency in the guitar sound. It was pretty impossible to play that way. In the Ubisoft forums I found a nice post and I was able to eliminate the guitar delay. You have to open again the Rocksmith.ini file. I’m not gonna explain the theory about buffers here. What you have to do is to set the value of LatencyBuffer to 0 and MaxOutputBufferSize to 1024. Then try to decrease the MaxOutputBufferSize by values of 256, then run the game. If your sound crackles, then the value is too low. Change it again, then run the game. You have to find a value that removes audio lag without ruining the sound. If the sound is bad even with the value 1024, then you should put LatencyBuffer to 1 and try again. If this is not clear, follow the good-written post on the Ubisoft forums. With a little tweak I am now able to play with a very low latency.

It can happen that, after a short playing, Rocksmith stops to recognize notes, even if you can hear the guitar sound. On the internet somebody suggested to close all the programs before running the game, and this helps. When it happened to me again, I checked the Task Manager: I’ve got the impression that Rocksmith started to take more and more RAM (not sure about that). I just stopped some services and the game ran well after that.



DLC songs are additional songs you can download and play in Rocksmith. You have to create a folder called “Content” in the Rocksmith program folder and place the DLC songs inside it. With my initial setup, I wasn’t able to see any new song in the game. The solution was to use the new patch instead of the previous one (remember to run it too as Administrator)!

Hope this helps. Let me know your results in the comment section below!

75 thoughts on “Rocksmith: how to play without the Real Tone Cable”

  1. Very nice article, thanks a lot man. The only problem I’m having is this : I’m using a Macbook, and I only have one jack connector. It’s either an audio in OR out, but both can’t be at the same time. (Thanks Apple for that brilliant idea !). FYI, I’ll be using Rocksmith on Windows (The only good thing in this, is that you can boot on a Windows partition if you like).
    So the trick would be to use the jack for out and a usb port for in, or vice-versa. What would you recommend ? I was thinking using a usb external sound card, with nice big jacks, in AND out. But that would be silly, as the official cable is 30€.
    Thanks in advance mate !

    • Thank you for the comment. I know someone spoke about the opportunity to split the macbook jack stereo channel in two mono channels, one as an input and one as an output, but I don’t know it that’s actually possible.
      You could use any usb card (or usb cable), but as you said, the Real Tone Cable is not so expensive compared to them. I would suggest you to look for some cheap usb cable or sound card. Just be sure that you have the guitar channel as the first channel (my M-Audio Fasttrack has the mic channel as the first channel, so it’s pretty useless). Hope this helps…

    • See if you can pick up an iRig off of ebay for cheap, it lets you connect a standard guitar cable to a 3.5mm jack input AND gives you the option to have a 3.5mm out too so you can plug the guitar in and your speakers or headphones or whatever, works fine on my mac.

      Mine cost like £15 at most.

      • I have read some reviews, it said iRig doesnt work with Rocksmith 2014… Do you actually try it before 🙁 cause in my country there’s no real tone cable available only iRig ._.

  2. I have the same problem with Soundcheck too! I mean, that the noise meter got the guitar input for the first time, but after that, nothing more. So I did what you wrote, copied and pasted the values you gave into the Rocksmith.ini file, but the game still doesn’t work at the same stage. Why?

  3. Io invece non riesco a farlo partire… non mi va la crack dopo che ho fatto una formattazione. Ho seguito la procedura come da manuale anche perché non era la prima volta, a forza di muovi e tocca è partito non so dovuto a cosa. Poi ho dovuto riformattare stasera, reinstallato RS ma ora non riesco a farlo partire è come se il crack non facesse il suo lavoro.

    • OK HO CAPITO!!!!!!!!

      Lo dico per tutti quelli che hanno Windows 8 e cadono nel mio problema:

      Molto semplicemente quando inserite la patch “no cable” attivate la compatibilità nelle proprietà, però di Windows 7, questo è importante perché con xp sp3 non funziona.

      Dopo che ho letto i requisiti minimi mi sono accorto che veniva riportato la compatibilità solo su vista e seven.

  4. Io ho un problema, quando collego il jack con la riduzione il pc praticamente non mi vede la line in, cioè l’entrata. non so come fare… Qualche idea?

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  6. Hey man, great tutorial. I made it work, but in soundcheck game wants me to play as loud as i can, so i do it, then it want me to stop so i do it…everything is fine, but then it wants me to play loud again a and there nothing happens. I strum like crazy, i can hear guitar in game but game does not respond to that…i tied that *.ini tweaks, nothing works. I muted and disabled other channels and stuff in mixer etc…i use win xp and lot of settings i found all over the internet dont know where to find, i found a alternatives, but i am not sure if its the same. For example recording quality (48000mhz 16bit…) i found in sound recording app, under format conversion. Thanks anyway…ill try further 🙂

  7. ok so i downloaded the patch and put it in my Ubisoft folder, put a shortcut on the desktop… i have a usb guitar cable but that didn’t work… neither did plugging a normal cable into the mic input via an adapter… the gods of rock ‘n’ roll do frown upon me it seems. PLEASE HELP 🙂

  8. hey thank you a lot, now i can hear my guitar in game but i realy need help cuz i cant tune guitar in game. its says: dont strum too many string and i just strum one, ingame sound of guitar is like i have distorsion/amp and my tone in unrecognizable. pls helpppp if you can 🙂 thank you!

  9. ma per normal cable, si intende un normale cavo per chitarra o un cavo usb per chitarra? Io ho questo secondo cavo da un lavo usb e dall’altro jack per chitarra, vorrei utilizzare questo.

  10. Thanks a bunch. Tried this with the demo on steam and a bass. I’m using the mic jack into my computer. For those who have trouble getting past tuning and stuff try changing your microphone volume in windows. Also I have DC Offset Cancellation and Noise Suppression on

  11. i have a problem after installing the game it starts and all but the problem is after the tunning phase i get a no-where screen the guitar is connected and i can play notes on this screen, but it doesn’t continue through the the menu, this is in case i creat a new user, but if i play on the (already created account i found) i can play the game but the lessons mode just stops the game and still the same no-where screen just stands still no keys on keyboard works

  12. Thanks! Maybe you can help me: The game is running, but my computer doesn’t recognize the guitar (normal guitar cable + adaptor). My laptop (ASUS x52ju) only has a mic input (no line input). Is there any other reasons for this to happen or the only answer is that the mic input is broken (I don’t have any mic with this cable so I can test the pc mic input, so I hope that’s not the answer)? I hope the reason for this to happen is one I can control!… Help!… 🙂

    • In the PC control panel, in the audio section, can you see the audio level going up when you strum the guitar? If the pc sense no signal, then maybe some settings need to be adjusted, or it can be an hardware issue. If you see some signal instead, it could be the game settings

  13. Just buy the cable already…
    This isnt just trolling; you like the game right? give something back for god’s sake. You can afford a guitar but not 20 bucks for a decent cable?
    For me it would be worth it just to save the time and effort to mess around with ini files.
    And yes, I’ve paid for the cable AND the game (twice even, RS1 and 2014)
    (from a ‘hacker/tweeker’ point of view: well done getting stuff to work your way)

  14. can anyone help i installed the no cable patch rocksmith says no audio out put and of course the patch isnt working either im running windows 8
    plz any sugestions

  15. Hi everyone!

    Thanks Alessandro for this article. Unfortunately I couldn´t found the no cable patch yet to download. Could somebody post a link for it please?

    • Now I got the next problem. I copied the patch.exe to the game folder. If I start the now, an error comes, that steam must run, even if steam is running. so I overwrite the original rocksmith2014.exe with the patch and start the game with steam. This leads to another error,

      Problemereignisname: APPCRASH
      Anwendungsname: Rocksmith2014.exe
      Anwendungszeitstempel: 5073651f
      Fehlermodulname: steamclient.dll
      Fehlermodulzeitstempel: 530d0f5a
      Ausnahmecode: c0000005
      Ausnahmeoffset: 00137ff0
      Betriebsystemversion: 6.1.7601.
      Gebietsschema-ID: 1031
      Zusatzinformation 1: 0a9e
      Zusatzinformation 2: 0a9e372d3b4ad19135b953a78882e789
      Zusatzinformation 3: 0a9e
      Zusatzinformation 4: 0a9e372d3b4ad19135b953a78882e789

      So what can I do now? Do you have any ideas? Thanks in advance!

  16. Thanks Alessandro for this awsome guide! It works like a charme. Something that doesn’t really work though, is playing that game with a Floyd Rose… It took me 6 tries to make it past the soundcheck. Not a good guitar for this game, cause of the weird tension. I play a note and it changes a lot so it sometimes takes multiple seconds till it’s in tune, cause when the vibration starts it’s sound is too high. Pretty annoying. I’ll play it with my base guitar tomorrow. Thanks for sharing your knowledge! 🙂

  17. the download is there even though it wasn’t working earlier… which i find strange.

    however, same thing as above… when running as admin from explorer the ‘please make sure steam has started before you launch the game’ error comes up.

    this cable is bullshit. i can’t find it anywhere after purchasing the game on steam. thanks assholes for selling me something that i cannot even use. what’s that? you also want to pass a law to stop me from looking for a solution to a problem that you created for me?

    i can’t even believe how trivial this problem is. how can a top of the line ADC/DSP not be able to feed this program? clearly it is a money grab over a way to make this game more accessible to people.

    i have a feeling the problem lies in usb routing. if someone knows how to change the usb settings that would probably solve this… and take the wind out of the overblown sails of ubisofts bullship.

    this is what sucks about modern capitalism and being a consumer. you’re just getting fucked left right and center. people who have control over finances do nothing but suck the value out of economies and give them to investors and call it efficiency. if you are an employee you are an absolute fool. if you’re a well paid employee you’re probably just an asshole. which is sad to say because the skills that got you there are probably actually pretty valuable.

  18. Ho un domanda di conferma, visto che l’inglese non è la mia prima lingua. Dopo aver installato la patch e disabilitato tutti gli input sonori eccetto quello con cui giocare, posso provare a collegare la chitarra o alla presa USB o a quella rosa del microfono? Io non possiedo cavi del genere, e li dovrei comprare, per questo vorrei sapere se ho capito bene.

  19. Hey I love your tutorial! I am a super beginner and I have a problem though with setting up my guitar. I have a semi-electric guitar by MPM instruments. I tried connecting it with a quarter-inch to 3.5mm adapter and a 3.5 mm cable to my pc. But now Rocksmith picks up when I play the guitar but it only makes a buzzing noise. In the tuning I only get values +999 and -999. Do you think it is the cable and if it is how can I fix it the easiest and the cheapiest way? Thx alot man!

  20. Hi all!

    Thankyou Alessandro for this page, I just wanted to mention that i have actually got this running using my Yamaha Steinberg UR12 interface, but i had to use the line output (red/white AV -> 2.5mm audio) from the box to the Laptop. I dont actually have a 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapter at hand so i was making do with what i have. Using it via USB seems to result in the ‘Real Tone Cable Disconnected’ error within the game so that seems to be out.

    I dont know if this would have a difference for anyone else using an external box of some sort that they usually interface their guitar with their pc, but if you can use a NON usb power outlet and only plug your interface in via the box output to line or mic in on your pc this might help.

    After applying the rocksmith.ini fix described above plus the nocablelauncher (always run it in administrator mode or it doesnt seem to work for me, this is Windows 10) lets me run Rocksmith 2014 via stock standard guitar lead into Steinberg interface, outputting via line out, to line in on laptop.

    Thanks again mate, nice work figuring out how to make this software at least a little bit fairer. PS Unlike a lot of other software, this one i paid up for straight away. Its a brilliant bit of kit.

    • Just wondering how? I also have a UR12 and it is 24bit, RS need the audio output to be 16bit, this cannot be altered in settings. I keep getting Error Sound Initialization message saying needs to be 16bit? I even have the real tone cable. Just want the sound to come out of my monitors instead of using headphones all the time.

  21. Hi.
    Thanx for explanation how to make it works. But yes, links for download arent working. I checked all comment section and tried all of this + your main. Only thing u can get from going into link is frustration 🙂 Can you upload it somewhere where it will work?

    • Hey there. I just checked the links and I can download the patch. Maybe you should change your DNS servers?
      What message do you get when trying to download the patch?

      • I dont know. The link is guiding me to lot of advertisements and I cant pass it. The server just look like some malware machine. I guess there is something wrong mby from my side. Can you upload it somewhere else? Like on I would be very grateful

        • Thanks a lot for sending it on my mail! That helped a lot. It is finaly working 🙂 Still need to work on my latency coz its delayed little bit but it is working! 🙂


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